She's turning the presentation into a series on how to get strangers to talk to you in different situations.
Sophia Dembling has a different style of traveling, and she's tired of hiding it.
Introverts crave meaning, so party chitchat feels like sandpaper to our psyche.
I've long forgotten how I came across either article, but here are two writers talking about life in a big company. It's not clear who wrote "Thriving in Large Companies", but here are the ten tips the author provides:
- Learn how decisions are really made in your organization.
- Build relationships before you need them.
- Long live skunk works.
- Be willing to do whatever it takes.
- Pick your battles.
- Build consensus before important meetings where decisions are required.
- Be smart about how you spend your time.
- Share information.
- Put your manager to work.
No word on how introverts like me, who would find the prospect of joining a large company daunting, would thrive. Frank Gregorsky maps out why introverts do not thrive in such environments:
The more competitive the industry, the more shark-like the work culture. Extroverted sensors own this territory, and the territory comes to own them. Never forget how sprawling that territory is, despite 15 years of corporate downsizing. The terrain dictates what grows and what withers.
He finds exceptions to the rule—large businesses that are decentralized, the culture of the branch having more to do with the style and personality of the office manager than diktats from above—and spends quite a bit of "aside" on why we're currently in a real estate bubble, blaming the ultra-competitive industry staffed almost entirely by extroverts. (He says that renters like me don't have to worry too much, and that when the bubble bursts, they too will be able to afford a decent house.) He then recommends The Simplicity Survival Handbook for those introverts who find themselves working for large companies. Any book with a chapter titled "How to Delete 75% of Your Emails" must be good (I'd be happy if just 25% of my emails were deleted).
I'm still working for a small company, and so far in my early job career I've worked in offices where I had the opportunity to meet and work with every employee of that company. How I'd handle working for a company the size of my high school, or even the size of my hometown, I don't know. But both articles guide the way, if for different audiences.
+1. I've said "Low-threshold actions like adding someone to a contact list have the potential to give us introverts the feeling of connecting with someone but in fact risk enabling hiding behind our computer."
Sounds like the trick it to get outside one's confort zone at least a little. Says the guy who went to exactly zero of the Christmas parties he was invited to.
Although it doesn't not seem to be getting any traction (
zero comments on my two articles and zero inbound links, and only one mention that I could find, on Kate's weblog), I persisted by going through with a half-an-hour session at BarCamp Vancouver on Saturday about introverts and social software. Nobody took notes, which is fine, I only wanted to ask the question I had written about previously. Six or seven people showed up (depending on whether you consider whether an 8-week-old-baby can attend a session), which was more than the one I expected. At the end, I pointed out my catch-phrase, "my weblog is my social software" (I'm dropping the "networking" since everybody else seems to be), and how through blogging, which is higher-threshold than adding someone as a 'friend' on an external website, I've met far far more people than I imagined possible. I probably wouldn't have been friends with Sacha Peter, whom I finally met the night before after however-many-years it's been, and the guy lives in a suburb of the same city I live in a suburb of!
When we were asked to introduce our sessions at the beginning of BarCamp, someone made a clever joke about shyness/introversion. Something about how I'd be reserved in introducing it (I'm getting it wrong, it as more than a day ago). I actually really enjoy public speaking and wish I could do more of it. I'm looking forward to seeing the photo of Sacha, who self-identifies as an introvert, but who is also a good public speaker and who also seemed to relish the opportunity to talk about something he was deeply interested in, i.e. prediction markets.
My session, just like the others, was only 30 minutes, but it gave me more context and more to think about if people are interested in helping answer the questions I posted on the board (copied below, since search engines can't read my writing), if they haven't already been answered somewhere already.
Social Software for Introverts
- who does Web 2.0 leave out, if anybody?
- how do we build meaningful sustained relationships using social tools?
- encouraging meeting in person using the Web
I clearly forgot that my articles had "Introverts and Social Software", not "Social Software for Introverts", the latter assuming I wanted to build such a thing for shy people, instead of just trying to understand whether and how introverts really use it effectively. And whether they can.